This early rayon meisen hitoe kimono, unlined and textured, showcases arrow-feather "yabane" motifs. It has a slightly worn area in the mid-back resulting in a few tiny holes. Measuring 50 inches (127 cm) from sleeve-end to sleeve-end and standing at 57 inches (145 cm) in height.
The arrow-feather motif, originating in Japan during the Heian era with martial connotations, became popular in the Edo era on kimonos for ladies in waiting. It was widely seen on schoolgirl and teacher kasuri kimonos in the mid to late Meiji period and remained a favorite motif during the Taisho and early Showa periods, often created through shibori, stenciling, or yuzen-dyeing. Traditionally vertical, these motifs occasionally appeared at an angle.
Typically an all-season geometric motif, yabane motifs usually featured only the arrow feather, but this example stands out by incorporating both feathers and arrow shafts. Rayon, termed "artificial silk" derived from wood pulp, gained popularity in Japan during the 1920s and 1930s, although it remained limited to about 10% of kimonos, with silk being the dominant choice.
Meisen, a pre-stenciled woven ikat, offered a faster and more economical production method than decorating plain fabrics post-weaving. It became a popular material for middle-class women's everyday "haute couture" haori and kimonos from the 1920s through as late as the 1950s, accounting for up to 30% of all haori and kimonos during the late 1920s and 1930s.